Johnny Thunders has been dead for 17 years now. Whoa. I had the opportunity to see Thunders live in a few different bands he was in, but my most vivid memory of him was actually less musically oriented, and more humor and food oriented, sorta. Flash back to Englander's; a club/pub/bar in Hillside NJ that held shows (The Smithereens concur that their first gig was there). It was October or November sometime in the early eighties. I could not find the date searching online & am not great at retaining exact dates so far back. Fill in your own if it makes you happy. Englander's was situated on a main street, and I was parked with friends on that street somewhat down a hill from where the club was. We were early, and Thunders was notorious for playing late, if at all, so we were hanging out in the car probably smoking weed and listening to tunes. I was sitting in the front passenger seat, and lo & behold I see a person struggling with something at the top of the hill, close to where the bar was. It was an object that was fairly large - larger than a bastketball, and they were having trouble handling it - it was obvious it was heavy. There was just a sheen of ice/frost on the sidewalk, and I could see that was making it difficult for the person we now were watching - deal with this item.
So my friends and I watched this figure, picking the object up, dropping it, pushing it around on the sidewalk, slipping backwards, then forwards, then backwards...you know, envision any Three Stooges episode complete with sound effects & you know what I'm talking about. Not a 3 Stooges fan? Try America's Funniest Home Videos. There's always someone breaking their neck on that show for laughs. Anyway, it was amusing and really engrossing. We were stoned, remember. Wooooohow. Slowly, they get down the sidewak and are within a car length of myself & my buddies. I realize that it is Johnny Thunders struggling with a frozen turkey. This is the time of year when all the supermarkets give away free turkeys for a certain amount spent on groceries & he's gotten one, and he'll be damned if it gets the best of him. He's trying to navigate this glacial butterball down the sidewalk to somewhere(?), and the turkey is certainly putting him through hell. He continues sliding and stumbling on past the car, we say nothing, just gape at him and the turkey and watch him disappear down the street. Perhaps he turned the corner. I don't even recollect how we reacted, but it seemed more momentous than hilarious at the time. Eventually he played a set that evening once he got his shit together - it had taken a LONG while, but once he could stand and get in front of the mic, Thunders was good to go. Usually really good to go, once he got onstage.I miss his performances as well as his antics. He was so much more interesting than anything in the tabloids nowadays. Wanna pay homage to Mr.Thunders/Jaywalk/Volume/Genzale? Go to the Johnny Thunders Fan Forum or check out some of these galleries. RIP sir, July 15, 1952- April 23, 1991.